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Where is the self? How can dualism stand if it's just a fiction?

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 10:09 am
@igm,
igm wrote:
Can you quote where I've given that impression? It is certainly not from the quote above.

You'll pardon me, but the impression is mine, not yours. Only I can judge whether I have an impression or not.

You say that language is dualistic. Yet you claim that there's no proof for dualism. But if you concede that language, at least, is dualistic, isn't that all the proof that you need? And if language can co-exist with non-dualism, then doesn't it follow that dualism and non-dualism can co-exist?

igm wrote:
I don’t think, ‘how it works’ is ‘set in stone’ I prefer to just wait; if no one comes with evidence that’s fine by me. Also, I haven’t got any ‘theories’.

Well, it's not "set in stone," but it's awfully close. You take the position that, if no one has proof of the truth of dualism, then you'll be content with believing in non-dualism.

But aside from the fact that you have the notion of "proof" backwards, you don't even land on the right default position. Implicit in your argument is that dualism and non-dualism are contradictory and comprehensive categories to which the law of the excluded middle would apply. In simpler terms, either the world is dualistic or non-dualistic -- there's no third alternative. That's true, as far as logic goes. But until one or the other is established, you can still take the position that the matter is undecided. Indeed, where there's insufficient proof for either position, it is the only defensible stance to take.

You, on the contrary, take the position that a lack of proof for dualism constitutes proof (or, at least, lack of disproof) of non-dualism. That's doesn't follow. Instead, a lack of proof of dualism simply means that dualism hasn't been proven, it doesn't mean that non-dualism has. That's not intellectually fair. You're stacking the deck, despite your claims to be open-minded.

igm wrote:
I believe it is ‘energy’ not ‘matter’ that is referred to as being conserved.

Einstein would say they're the same thing.

igm wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:

What would be evidence that something is non-existent?

I don’t know you tell me?

You're waiting for someone to give you evidence that something's non-existent, but you don't know what that evidence is? Then how will you know when someone gives you the evidence?

igm wrote:
The problem with all these questions by you which are ‘out-of-context’ with my original post is that it is almost impossible for others to follow what the original context was, don’t you agree?

On the contrary, I'm one of the few participants in this thread who is actually taking you original post seriously and is addressing its implications. If you want more Buddhist back-patting, you can get that from someone else.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 10:40 am
@igm,
What is "conventional reality?" When I look at all the different religions of the world, it seems humans are capable of believing in their gods or religious practice like buddhism. It's not only religion, it's also political beliefs. Most people, if I'm not mistaken, is driven in life by their religion and politics. If that's truly the case, how does that translate into "conventional?" They are, after all, their/our reality of life.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 10:49 am
@joefromchicago,

Nice post!

I'll need to check what I've previously posted and I'll just say for now, that the absence of a belief in dualism is 'not' non-dualism because if one is refuted or their is no evidence for it, then the other falls with it and so cannot stand alone if unsupported by its opposite.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 10:56 am
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
But aside from the fact that you have the notion of "proof" backwards, you don't even land on the right default position. Implicit in your argument is that dualism and non-dualism are contradictory and comprehensive categories to which the law of the excluded middle would apply. In simpler terms, either the world is dualistic or non-dualistic -- there's no third alternative. That's true, as far as logic goes. But until one or the other is established, you can still take the position that the matter is undecided. Indeed, where there's insufficient proof for either position, it is the only defensible stance to take.

I agree with Joe on this Igm.
He has described what is meant when I said that you have framed the question as a false dichotomy. I applaud him for taking the time and effort that I lacked to lay this all out for us.
This gets at the heart of the pre-trans fallacy. This dualism/non-dualism stance is fallacious. If you have any prejudice in deciding not to research this further, it might put your mind at ease knowing that, I think Ken Wilber would have no trouble calling himself a Buddhist. I have already suggested looking into this.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 11:14 am
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

What is "conventional reality?" When I look at all the different religions of the world, it seems humans are capable of believing in their gods or religious practice like buddhism. It's not only religion, it's also political beliefs. Most people, if I'm not mistaken, is driven in life by their religion and politics. If that's truly the case, how does that translate into "conventional?" They are, after all, their/our reality of life.

You make an interesting point, with maybe a slight or less slight 'dig' at Buddhism.

Conventional truth in Buddhist philosophy simply means the 'conventions' adopted by ordinary people who are not questioning 'the meaning of things'; so, just day-to-day language. Mādhyamaka has no problem with that as it helps us all to function and communicate. They use all the dualist terms without any problem because they aren’t at that time asking questions about dualism.

It does have a problem with philosophies and religions that 'say' they have come to some conclusion about 'reality' or the 'true nature of things' or that something is provably ‘this or that’. We simply ask them to prove it. In 2500 years they haven't as yet. Whilst we wait we have no position whatsoever but we communicate and interact with others just like anybody else does.

When someone says they have the 'answers' to the deep questions about existence, the self, reality, how things begin etc. etc. then we ask them to prove it... we continue to wait... happy and content because we aren't obsessed by finding definitive truths. We also have arguments against those 'so called truths'.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 11:27 am
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

This gets at the heart of the pre-trans fallacy. This dualism/non-dualism stance is fallacious.

I'm not sure I'm 'guilty' of this in word and my intention is definitely 'not' to take that stance in 'deed'.

I guess/believe you're both mistaken about what I've said but I'll check and make sure.

Remember there are 'null' values.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_(SQL)

Null is a special marker used in Structured Query Language (SQL) to indicate that a data value does not exist in the database.

The same can be applied to a stance taken which is neither one side of the argument or the other... but of course you both know that.. I guess... but sometimes we just see arguments as true or false. My argument is not to take any side... it is a 'null' argument if you like.

This encapsulates it:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nagarjuna/

According to the Madhyamaka view of truth there can be no such thing as ultimate truth, a theory describing how things really are, independent of our interests and conceptual resources employed in describing it. All one is left with is conventional truth, truth which consists in agreement with commonly accepted practices and conventions. These are the truths that are arrived at when viewing the world through our linguistically formed conceptual framework. But we should be wary of denigrating these conventions as a distorting device that incorporates our specific interests and concerns. The very notion of ‘distortion’ presupposes that there is a world untainted by conceptuality out there (even if our minds can never reach it) that is crooked and bent to fit our cognitive grasp. But the very notion of such a ‘way things really are’ is argued by the Mādhyamika to be incoherent. There is no way of investigating the world apart from our linguistic and conceptual practices, if only because these practices generate the notion of the ‘world’ and of the ‘objects’ in it in the first place. To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 11:32 am
@igm,
All my siblings are christians married to christians. My wife is a buddhist, and I'm an atheist. Of all the religions, I have the most respect for buddhism because they look inwards, and don't criticize or try to convert others into their religion.

There are several branches of buddhism like many other religions with their individual dogmas. Buddhists also "pray" to buddha which I find strange.

There's a temple in Hong Kong that believes in buddhsim, taoism, and confucianism; a good combination for human teaching and learning.

I believe it's the individual that possesses good human traits or not, and not the religion they belong to.



igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 11:32 am
My post above has been updated with additional information not posted to you 'directly' in my past posts i.e. to Matt and Joe.
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:12 pm
@joefromchicago,
Joe, I'd say I'm not guilty vis-à-vis your allegations either explicitly or implicitly but if you can show me evidence that will substantiate your allegations then I will look at that evidence. I may have been ambiguous in my choice of words but again I can find no evidence of this.

My position remains summarized below (forget about my past posts they were meant to convey this summary whether they succeeded or not in that endeavor). I could not word it better myself, so I'm going to restate it once more:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nagarjuna/

According to the Madhyamaka view of truth there can be no such thing as ultimate truth, a theory describing how things really are, independent of our interests and conceptual resources employed in describing it. All one is left with is conventional truth, truth which consists in agreement with commonly accepted practices and conventions. These are the truths that are arrived at when viewing the world through our linguistically formed conceptual framework. But we should be wary of denigrating these conventions as a distorting device that incorporates our specific interests and concerns. The very notion of ‘distortion’ presupposes that there is a world untainted by conceptuality out there (even if our minds can never reach it) that is crooked and bent to fit our cognitive grasp. But the very notion of such a ‘way things really are’ is argued by the Mādhyamika to be incoherent. There is no way of investigating the world apart from our linguistic and conceptual practices, if only because these practices generate the notion of the ‘world’ and of the ‘objects’ in it in the first place. To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:18 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Buddhists also "pray" to buddha which I find strange.

We can find no evidence of 'nonexistence' does this make it more or less strange, neither or both?
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:19 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
Buddhists also "pray" to buddha which I find strange.


We don't pray to Buddha as a God. We thank him for the teaching and show admiration and respect toward him and all the teachers. And ask for guidance through the teaching to help us follow the path. I can see that the prayers could be construed differently. There is reverence and respect and it serves to reinforce following the path.

At least that's the way I understand it and practice. There may be others who view that differently.
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:21 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
I believe it's the individual that possesses good human traits or not, and not the religion they belong to.


That's certainly true, but is it not the role of religion to teach and help humans improve themselves and find reasons for more moral behavior?
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:22 pm
@IRFRANK,
Nice reply! I took a different 'tack' in the post above yours (three up from here).

'Snap' by the way.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:39 pm
@igm,
Thanks for your clarification on your position.
Quote:
To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.

I think a statement like this would have anyone confused if they were operating under the "How can dualism stand if it's JUST a fiction?" in the title of the post.
Sorry, if I didn't catch when you made the position elaborated in this above excerpt more clear.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:41 pm
@IRFRANK,
That's one of their goals; the other is eternal life.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:43 pm
@igm,
The buddhist believes in reincarnation, so from that standpoint it's not strange.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 12:57 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:

Joe, I'd say I'm not guilty vis-à-vis your allegations either explicitly or implicitly but if you can show me evidence that will substantiate your allegations then I will look at that evidence. I may have been ambiguous in my choice of words but again I can find no evidence of this.

You've given me no reason to believe that you understand this whole "proof" and "evidence" thing, so you'll excuse me if I take a pass.

I'll just note that you stated the Buddha insisted on proof of the self. Now, if the Buddha had no beliefs about the existence of the self -- if he was, in other words, a total skeptic on the issue -- then I take everything back. My imperfect understanding of Buddhism, however, is that the Buddha did take a position on the existence of the self. If that's the case, then I stand by everything I previously wrote. That's all the "proof" I'm in a position to provide. If that doesn't convince you, then so be it.

igm wrote:
My position remains summarized below...

Quote:
But the very notion of such a ‘way things really are’ is argued by the Mādhyamika to be incoherent.

Well, Mādhyamika's argument that the notion of "the way things are" is incoherent is incoherent. If Mādhyamika truly is a skeptic about reality, then any law-like statement about reality -- including statements about the incoherency of such notions as "the way things really are" -- have no basis, since even "truth" (ultimate or common or otherwise) is subject to doubt. In short, if Mādhyamika is a skeptic about everything, then he's also a skeptic about his own skepticism.

Now, if you also take the position that everything is subject to doubt, then I'm not sure why you consider yourself a Buddhist rather than an agnostic. Buddhists, after all, aren't Pyrrhonists -- they believe some things are not subject to doubt. If one of those things is the non-existence of the self, then your claims of being entirely neutral on the topic are hardly convincing.
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 01:31 pm
@joefromchicago,
"Pyrrhonists" had to look that up leading me also to "fallibilism" thanks for the vocab. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 04:41 pm
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

Thanks for your clarification on your position.
Quote:
To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.

I think a statement like this would have anyone confused if they were operating under the "How can dualism stand if it's JUST a fiction?" in the title of the post.
Sorry, if I didn't catch when you made the position elaborated in this above excerpt more clear.

Fresco understood and posted this when I asked for his opinion on it:

fresco wrote:

I agree entirely.

And as for the ostensible "logical paradox" this can be deconstruced by a nested systems approach (aka "second order cybernetics") explored by Von Foerster,who was concerned with "the observation of observation". As I have already said on this or some other current thread, theists tend to go for a closed set of nested systems whose highest level is Absolute or Ultimate (aka God), but non-theists are happy with an open or infinite set.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Feb, 2013 04:46 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

That's one of their goals; the other is eternal life.

Eternal life... where did you get that notion, ci? I missed Buddha's teaching on that one and I'm a Buddhist!
0 Replies
 
 

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